Issues of context, capacity and scale: Essential conditions and missing links for a sustainable blue economy

Holly J. Niner, Noel C. Barut, Tom Baum, Daniela Diz, Daniela Laínez del Pozo, Stuart Laing, Alana Lancaster, Kirsty A. McQuaid, Tania Mendo, Elisa Morgera, Payal N. Maharaj, Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood, Kelly Ortega-Cisneros, Tapiwa V. Warikandwa, Sian Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


The blue economy has roots in the international arena of sustainable development and sets out to unlock opportunities for economy and society whilst protecting and enhancing marine environments. To date there has been no analysis of how this overarching intention for sustainability has influenced the rapid development of blue economy policies at national and regional scales. In this article, we analyse the synergies and conflicts between blue economy policies from a diversity of national and regional policies and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We show that to maintain critical alignment with targets for sustainability, place-based contextual development of blue economies that meet the needs of all actors is necessary. These needs relate to ensuring resilience against future environmental and political shocks, the maintenance of the ecological basis for thriving blue economies, and capacity development at all levels to support effective and equitable governance. Results indicate that co-production will be important to achieve sustainable blue economies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Early online date22 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • Benefit sharing
  • Blue economy
  • Marine governance
  • Marine natural capital
  • Ocean economy
  • Sustainable development goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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